Cornish Pirates find it tough against star-studded Saracens
Saracens 61 Cornish Pirates 3
The Cornish Pirates were given a tough work out in the City of London against a very strong Saracens side but will return home happy with their overall display against Premiership opponents, writes Dick Straughan.
It took Saracens just two minutes to open the scoring as England wing Chris Ashton gathered a downfield kick and returned it with interest setting up Dave Strettle to score.
They quickly added a second try with hooker Jamie George barging his way over from a close range driving maul and Charlie Hodgson’s second of six conversions made it 14-0.
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The Pirates then had a good spell with Gavin Cattle, Rheon James and Craig Holland all looking good with the ball in hand and Kieran Hallett`s 14th minute penalty got them on the scoreboard.
But Saracens quickly hit back with a try from full-back Ben Ranson and then added further scores from lock George Kruis and a brace from Ashton before the break.
Saracens tuned around leading 42-3 and added further tries from Ranson and Duncan Taylor within 5 minutes of the restart.
A multiude of changes from both sides predictably disrupted the flow of the game but gave the Pirates respite with Tom Kessell flourishing. But after nearly 20 minutes without a score Saracens cut loose again with Ashton and Ranson the provider for Jack Wilson.
The Pirates finished strongly but were held out by a resolute Saracens defensive unit.
Saracens: Ransom, Ashton, Tomkins, Taylor, Strettle, Hodgson, Wigglesworth; Gill, George, Johnston, Borthwick (capt), Kruis, Vunipola, Burger, Joubert
Replacements (all used) – Spurling, Auterac, du Plessis, Botha, Hargreaves, Melck, Wray, Hankin, Spencer, Mordt, Tagicakibau, Wilson, Streather
Tries – Ashton (2), Ranson (2), Kruis, Strettle, George, Taylor, Wilson
Cons – Hodgson (6), Mordt, Wigglesworth
Cornish Pirates : Holland, Tincknell, Riley, James, Jones, Hallett, Cattle (capt); Paver, Elloway, Prescott, Sandford, Johnson, Morgan, Cheesman, Parker
Replacements (all used) – Andrew, Brown, Maidment, Barry, Bolwell, Conlon, Kessell, Sinclair, Bodilly, Pope
Pens – Hallett
Referee – M.Carley (RFU)